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For release: May 22, 2008

Matthew Vannette, Condensed Matter Physics            
   (515) 294-5440
Ruslan Prozorov, Condensed Matter Physics
   (515) 294-9901
Saren Johnston, Public Affairs
   (515) 294-3474



AMES, Iowa — Matthew Vannette, a graduate student in the Condensed Matter Physics program at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory, has been selected by the DOE Office of Science as one of 16 outstanding research participants to attend the 58th International Convention of Nobel Laureates in Lindau, Germany, June 29 — July 4. The 2008 meeting will focus on physics.

Since 1951, Nobel Laureates in chemistry, physics, and physiology/medicine have convened in Lindau annually to have open and informal meetings with students and young researchers from around the world. The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings are a globally recognized forum for the transfer of knowledge between Laureates and young researchers. The DOE Office of Science and the National Science Foundation Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate sponsor the trip to the International Convention of Nobel Laureates for the United States delegation.

"Being selected to attend the Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates is very exciting," said Vannette. "I'm looking forward to the lectures and the opportunity to make contacts with other graduate students and young researchers."

Vannette, a doctoral student in the Iowa State University Department of Physics and Astronomy, studies the physical properties of materials and methods of measuring them. Working with Ruslan Prozorov, his major professor and head of Ames Laboratory's Superconductivity and Magnetism Low-temperature Laboratory, Vannette employs novel measurement techniques to investigate various magnetic transitions.

"As we were building the low-temperature lab from scratch a few years ago, Matt embarked on a project that was not only new for us, but also for the scientific community," said Prozorov. "His work represents new physics — he's the first to apply a unique device called a tunnel diode resonator to the study of magnetic materials."

Vannette has shown that TDR measurements offer a means of determining whether a ferromagnetic system is local moment or nonlocal (itinerant) in its behavior. The discovery is significant because both forms of magnetism can exist in metals, and it's extremely difficult to determine experimentally the difference between the two.

"Matt was recognized for his TDR work at the 2007 Conference on Magnetism and Magnetic Materials with the Best Student Presentation Award," said Prozorov. "His contribution is fundamental because it has defined one of our major research efforts at Ames Laboratory — the experimental study of superconductivity and magnetism, and how they can coexist in novel materials at low temperatures."

Now, Vannette's talent and expertise have earned him a trip to Lindau, where, along with the 16 DOE Office of Science participants and 39 other United States participants making up the official U.S. delegation, he will join over 500 international graduate students and young researchers at the 58th Meeting of Nobel Laureates. The U.S. delegation will travel to Washington, D.C., for an orientation meeting on June 27. They arrive in Lindau on June 28 and will tour the historic, medieval island city that is rich in central European culture. The meeting of Nobel Laureates begins June 29 with welcoming ceremonies and an evening dinner and gala.

While in Lindau, Vannette will have the opportunity to interact with the Nobel Laureates as well as other graduate students and junior researchers from around the world. During the meeting, the Laureates will lecture on the topics of their choice related to physics in the mornings and participate in less formal small-group discussions with the students in the afternoons and some evenings. Laureates will also join participants for lunches and dinners at local restaurants for additional informal discussions.

"I think this opportunity will be a chance for me to bring some new ideas back to our lab in terms of experimental methods or research directions for other members of our group," said Vannette. "Plus, it will be good for me as far as learning more about physics topics I might want to study in the future."

As the 58th International Meeting of Nobel Laureates concludes on July 4, participants will travel by ferry to the Isle of Mainau for the closing ceremonies at the baroque Mainau Castle, the residence of Swedish patron Count Lennart Bernadotte, who began the Nobel Laureates program in 1951.

A Web site has been set up to post daily information and photos while students are attending the Lindau meeting. The URL for this year's meeting is The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, which is managed by Oak Ridge Associated Universities for the Department of Energy, administers the Web site and travel arrangements for all U.S. participants.

Ames Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science laboratory operated for the DOE by Iowa State University. The Lab conducts research into various areas of national concern, including the synthesis and study of new materials, energy resources, high-speed computer design, and environmental cleanup and restoration .